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Known widely and usually unfavorably: a notorious pirate; a region notorious for floods.

[From Medieval Latin nōtōrius, well-known, from Latin nōtus, known, past participle of nōscere, to get to know; see gnō- in Indo-European roots.]

no·to′ri·ous·ly adv.
no·to′ri·ous·ness n.
Usage Note: Although notorious and notoriety have been used in negative, positive, and neutral contexts since the 1500s, over the years, notorious (and to a lesser extent notoriety) has come to be used primarily in negative contexts, often with a connotation of wickedness or undesirability. In our 2011 survey, 81 percent of the Usage Panel accepted the sentence The region is notorious for its seismic disturbances, whereas only 26 percent accepted a sentence that used notorious in a situation where the circumstances for fame are positive: She is notorious for her excellent standup comedy routines. The Panel is somewhat more willing to accept notoriety in a positive context: almost half (45 percent) approved of the sentence His success on college campuses brought him enough notoriety to release a greatest hits CD.


1. well-known for some bad or unfavourable quality, deed, etc; infamous
2. rare generally known or widely acknowledged
[C16: from Medieval Latin notōrius well-known, from nōtus known, from noscere to know]
notoriety, noˈtoriousness n
noˈtoriously adv


(noʊˈtɔr i əs, -ˈtoʊr-, nə-)

1. widely and unfavorably known: a notorious thief.
2. publicly or generally known: a notorious scandal.
[1540–50; < Medieval Latin nōtōrius evident = Latin nō(scere) to get to know (see notify) + -tōrius -tory1]
no•to′ri•ous•ly, adv.
no•to′ri•ous•ness, n.
syn: See famous.


1. 'famous'

If someone or something is famous, very many people know about them.

Have you ever dreamed of becoming a famous writer?
...the world's most famous picture.
2. 'well-known'

Well-known has a similar meaning to famous. However, a well-known person or thing is usually known to fewer people or in a smaller area than a famous one.

...a club run by Paul Ross, a well-known Lakeland climber.
...his two well-known books on modern art.

Well-known can be spelled with or without a hyphen. You usually spell it with a hyphen in front of a noun and without a hyphen after a verb.

I took him to a well-known doctor in Harley Street.
The building became very well known.
3. 'notorious'

Someone or something that is notorious is well known for something that is bad or undesirable.

The area was notorious for murders.
...his notorious arrogance.
4. 'infamous'

People and things are described as infamous when they are well known because they are connected with wicked or cruel behaviour.

...the infamous serial killer known as 'the Boston Strangler'.
...the infamous shower scene from Psycho.


See Usage entry at famous.

ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.notorious - known widely and usually unfavorably; "a notorious gangster"; "the tenderloin district was notorious for vice"; "the infamous Benedict Arnold";
disreputable - lacking respectability in character or behavior or appearance


adjective infamous, disreputable, opprobrious one of Britain's most notorious serial killers


1. Known widely and unfavorably:
2. Widely known and discussed:
مَشْهور بِسوء السُّمْعَه
nechvalně známý
alræmdur, illræmdur
bloga reputacijanepalankiai
bēdīgi slavens
smutne preslávený
adı çıkmışkötü şöhretli


[nəʊˈtɔːrɪəs] ADJ [criminal] → muy conocido, celebérrimo; [area, town, prison] → de mala fama, de mala reputación; [comment, speech] → desgraciadamente famoso; [case, crime] → muy sonado
a notorious womanizerun hombre con fama de donjuán
she's a notorious flirttiene fama de que le gusta flirtear
Prussia was notorious in this respectPrusia tenía mala fama en este sentido
to be notorious as sthtener fama de ser algo
to be notorious for sthser conocido por algo, tener fama de algo
he's notorious for cheating at cardstiene fama de hacer trampas jugando a las cartas


[nəʊˈtɔːriəs] adj [case, murder, crime] → célèbre; [murderer, killer] → célèbre; [womaniser] → notoire
to be notorious for sth → être réputé(e) pour qch, être célèbre pour qch
to be notorious for doing sth → être réputé(e) pour faire qch, être connu(e) pour faire qch


adj person, factberüchtigt; place alsoverrufen, verschrieen; (= well-known) gambler, criminal, liarnotorisch; a notorious womaneine Frau von schlechtem Ruf; to be notorious for/as somethingfür/als etw berüchtigt sein; it is a notorious fact that …es ist leider nur allzu bekannt, dass …


[nəʊˈtɔːrɪəs] adj (thief, criminal, prison) → famigerato/a; (liar) → ben noto/a; (place, crime) → tristemente famoso/a
a town notorious for its fog → una città tristamente famosa per la nebbia


(nəˈtoːriəs) adjective
well-known for badness or wickedness. a notorious murderer.
notoriety (noutəˈraiəti) noun
noˈtoriously adverb
References in classic literature ?
New Zealand Tom and Don Miguel, after at various times creating great havoc among the boats of different vessels, were finally gone in quest of, systematically hunted out, chased and killed by valiant whaling captains, who heaved up their anchors with that express object as much in view, as in setting out through the Narragansett Woods, Captain Butler of old had it in his mind to capture that notorious murderous savage Annawon, the headmost warrior of the Indian King Philip.
High times, indeed, if unprincipled young rakes like him are to be permitted to invade the sanctity of domestic bliss; though do what the Bashaw will, he cannot keep the most notorious Lothario out of his bed; for, alas
Yet he had picked up gossip enough to have it occur to him that the loud-voiced man upon the bench might be the notorious Justice Callahan, about whom the people of Packingtown spoke with bated breath.
Magdalen's curious fancy for having her hair combed at all times and seasons was among the peculiarities of her character which were notorious to everybody in the house.
At heart and by descent an Aristocrat, an enemy of the Republic, a notorious oppressor of the People.
It was so notorious in the house, that the masters and head-boys took pains to cut these marauders off at angles, and to get out of windows, and turn them out of the courtyard, before they could make the Doctor aware of their presence; which was sometimes happily effected within a few yards of him, without his knowing anything of the matter, as he jogged to and fro.
She had gathered from the domestic squabbles of the last few days that Lady Brandon, against her husband's will, had invited a notorious demagogue, the rich son of a successful cotton-spinner, to visit the Beeches.
This lord, in conjunction with Flimnap the high-treasurer, whose enmity against you is notorious on account of his lady, Limtoc the general, Lalcon the chamberlain, and Balmuff the grand justiciary, have prepared articles of impeachment against you, for treason and other capital crimes.
His extraordinary absences became notorious, and, when he used to reappear again in society, men would whisper to each other in corners, or pass him with a sneer, or look at him with cold searching eyes, as though they were determined to discover his secret.
On the minor gambling houses your worship may exercise your power, and it is they that do most harm and shelter the most barefaced practices; for in the houses of lords and gentlemen of quality the notorious sharpers dare not attempt to play their tricks; and as the vice of gambling has become common, it is better that men should play in houses of repute than in some tradesman's, where they catch an unlucky fellow in the small hours of the morning and skin him alive.
and arrest--and overcoming of a notorious rascal, one Robin Hood of Barnesdale.
Instances of a like nature are numerous and notorious.